Judith (left) and Aly (right), happy to finally be somewhere that values both project management and UX.
As a UX developer (Aly) and a project manager (Judith), we’ve both had jobs where the value of project management and UX wasn't recognized. We were written off as “overhead” or a “nice-to-have” instead of being treated like necessary functions that improve the final product.
For the client, the goal of working with a tech consultancy is simple — get as much value to the business as possible for your money. That’s how it should work. That’s how we want it to work. Clients are supposed to push back on us, ask questions about what we’re doing and help us align our work with their goals. Even if that means asking “What is this, can we cut it?”
As a project manager, it’s my job to help clients understand the value of what we’re doing. But when clients would ask about UX design, I didn’t feel like I had a good answer. I know that the value is there, but I could not voice it to my clients as well as I can for development.
I wanted to be able to better inform my clients and better advocate for my coworkers, so I added getting a better understanding of UX design to my professional development goals. I didn’t have joining a GV Design Sprint in mind, but when a new client hired us to work on a new product idea, joining the UX design team for two weeks on two GV Design Sprints seemed like the perfect way to get a crash course in design. Table XI covered the cost of me joining the sprint as an investment in my growth, so my participation was free to the client, and I was able to contribute while continuing to manage my other projects.
In two weeks, we built and validated four prototypes and produced six branding treatments. We did it without late nights or tears. If anything, it made us a stronger, better group of designers. By adapting Google’s Design Sprint to fit our client’s needs, we were able to quickly understand a new market, develop ideas for innovative products and get those prototypes in front of users for testing.
It started with something entirely new to us — the world of European online sports gambling. The client, a UK-based sports gambling site, came to us wanting to test out an idea for a new product. The Google Ventures, now GV, Design Sprint gave us an opportunity to get up to speed on both the new industry and the new client as quickly as possible.
I usually explain it to clients with this story: A bunch of admirals were asked to plan out a military campaign for a written exam. They were all accomplished strategists, but when confronted with a blank piece of paper, they all failed the test. So the navy paired them off, allowing each team to share notes. Instantly they started acing the test. All it took was that little bit of outside perspective, all of the sudden you see a bigger picture.
Movie nights are a time-honored tradition at Table XI. Iterating over summers we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put on a great show. What exactly does it take? Let me tell you using a few UX principles.
Or, how a vacation taught my family what I do at work.
Do your grandparents squint when you refer to usability testing? Is your roommate nonplussed when you name drop the great Don Norman? Are you passionate about what you do but have trouble explaining it? If so, you and I might share a similar user issue.
This past weekend, on May 3rd, I had the pleasure of joining a collection of really smart people on stage at Mobile Camp Chicago. It was a full day of discussing what the expansion in device usage over the past few years means for our industry. I heard a bunch of great talks and had even more great conversations. If you get a chance to attend one of the shows that Chicago Camps puts on I could not recommend it enough. The events are some of the most affordable around and full of some of the best speakers I've seen.
Since the launch of the first responsive website we have had fluid grids and images, but our typography has been static. That is, until recently. The rise of support from the browser vendors for viewport units of measurement has changed that and we can now build sites where the type adjusts to the size of the screen. With a little bit of planning and a dash of sass, we can control our fluid type through all of our breakpoints and ensure a proper text line length across all variants of our design. In this edition of XI to Eye I'll give you an introduction to vw units and how we're using them.